by Danny Tariman
“Withhold not discipline from the child” (Proverbs 23:13)
Parenting is something that most of us were not taught in school. It is something learned as we go through raising up our children.
One of the big issues that confront parents is how to discipline a child.
Some parents resort to physical punishment using “discipline” as their reason for doing so.
They would even quote a Bible passage saying that it is okay to hit a child. Yes, the verse says we may strike the child with rod, but for me, it must be used as the last resort.
“Withhold not discipline from the child; for if you strike and punish him with the rod, he will not die.” (Proverbs 23:13)
So how do we discipline our children, especially during their formative years?
Three things, the 3C’s:
Ensure your house rules and family norms are clear. When this is clear to the children, they will know how to act in accordance to the rules/norms.
“If you do not speak clearly with your tongue, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air.” (1Cor 14:9)
It is like when you play a game, you should know the rules; otherwise you wouldn’t know how to win the game. The same with parenting, we have to make clear to our children our rules and norms so they will know the boundaries of their actions.
When there is a breach of rule or norm, talk to the child. Together go back and review the established rule or norm. Listen to the child’s explanation why he broke the rule. As a parent coach the child – explain to him why it is not good to break the rule, and let the child realize the “sin” and ask.
“You must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up.” (Deut 6:7)
Teach them, and repeat as necessary, the rules of the family. I encourage that you also teach them Biblical principles so they will know how to act according to the precepts of the Lord.
3. Creative Discipline
Be ‘creative’ in rendering discipline. Punishment can be done in many ways like – abstaining from favorite food, or no playtime for a number of hours or days, or doing house chores like sweeping the floor, washing dishes, etc. Make sure it will cause the child a discomfort or uneasiness; otherwise it will not be a ‘punishment’ for him.
If same offense is repeated, then apply the ‘rod of discipline’, as the last recourse. Make sure, I say it again – make sure, do not do it in anger or when angry, but in loving discipline. Tell him you love him and that you are doing it to discipline him.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
If there is anger deep inside, postpone the punishment of discipline. Ask the grace of God to cool you down and the grace to impose discipline in a loving way. Only then, and only when you are not angry, should you punish the child.
May the LORD guide and bless you, as you raise up your children in the love and fear of God!